Born in 2020: New technological opportunities of this year

Author : Iryna Shostak

Source : 112 Ukraine

A gyro scooter chair, a vertical-take-off satchel, space tourism, and new steps in "rapprochement" with Mars – these are things, which we can see already in 2020
09:15, 25 May 2020

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The development of science and technology is gaining momentum every year. If in the distant past, while reading or browsing sci-fi content, we did not dream about the successful launch of spacecraft that would explore life on Mars, today already one of them is making a high-quality selfie on a hill in the center of the Martian crater. We are talking about the Curiosity rover (NASA rover), which recently showed the world another photo from the surface of the Red Planet - Curiosity took a selfie with a mechanical hand after a record climb on a hill in the center of Gale Crater.

Curiosity (360°)

And this is not all the news that gives hope that in the near future people will be able to colonize Mars.

Related: China eyes Ukraine as good place for military technology imports

Deep near space

In the summer of 2020, it is planned to launch three more rovers: American, European-Russian and Chinese. Approximately once every 26 months (780 days) the location of the Earth and Mars becomes as convenient as possible for interplanetary flights (despite the fact that a simple launch into orbit can be carried out almost at any time).

The NASA Rover together with a helicopter drone that will test the possibility of flying in the Martian atmosphere and help in navigation; Chinese Huoxing-1 (“Mars-1”), equipped with 12 scientific instruments (cameras, radars, magnetometers, etc.);

Rosalind Franklin with a landing platform “Cossack” - the second part of the European-Russian mission “ExoMars.” The latter will have onboard an analyzer of Martian organic molecules (MOMA), with the help of which the rover would look for life on the planet.

Rosalind Franklin
European Space Agency

All three rovers, starting at different intervals in July 2020, will arrive at their destination in February-March 2021. Using the data obtained from the missions scientists plan to study geology, the climate of Mars, and most importantly – to look for evidence that life existed on the Red Planet.

It is important to note that the study of the planet is not limited to rovers, because, for example, China and the UAE plan to send their probes to the orbit of Mars.

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Space tourism. In the 21st century, space becomes not only a mecca for scientific research but also tourist routes. SpaceX (of Elon Musk), Blue Origin (of Jeff Bezos), and Virgin Galactic (Richard Branson) are preparing to send tourists into orbit in the near future. If the last two companies are striving for flights by the end of 2020 (in particular, the Blue Origin suborbital reusable New Shepard rocket successfully completed all 12 test missions), then this year Elon Musk only became one step closer to the target – SpaceX signed a cooperation agreement with Space Adventures, which provides for orbiting on Crew Dragon ships. In the first flight (from the end of 2021 to the middle of 2022), 4 people will depart.

Interestingly, the demand for space tourism is growing rapidly. In particular, this is reported by the company of the British billionaire Richard Branson, which received about 8,000 new requests from the beginning of 2020 (in September last year, there were half as many willing to take part in the flight). It is worth noting that a ticket costs $ 250,000 (this amount has already been laid out by Leonardo di Caprio and Justin Bieber, who among the first 600 people will go on a space trip).

Also in 2020, the International Space Station (ISS) promises to open doors for tourists, offering them the services of a space hotel. Living in a hotel overlooking the Earth costs $ 58 million (only for the flight to the ISS and return to Earth). One day of living will cost $ 35,000 (the Internet service is not included in this amount, for which you will have to pay another $ 50 for one GB).

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Internet without borders. In 2020, an active phase of creating a “mega-constellation” should take place, which will help provide everyone with access to the Internet. This is precisely the goal that Elon Musk set for himself, putting dozens of Starlink satellites into orbit (another 60 satellites joined their fleet in April this year). Thus, about 422 vehicles ply in the sky today. It is assumed that already in the middle of the year, first users will be able to evaluate the global Musk network (a monthly subscription will start at $ 100 for unlimited access at a speed of 10 Mbps).

In order to see how the satellites of Elon Musk fly over the territory of Ukraine, you can use the Findstarlink website (choosing the location: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Lviv).

Rescue technology

Bionic eye. Scientists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have created an artificial eye that surpasses the human in its capabilities – the bionic. The bionic implant consists of an artificial retina and a dense array of nanowires. The wires are sensitive to light, so they allow the artificial eye to work similarly to the human. It is interesting that the bionic eye is able not only to see in the dark but also to distinguish infrared radiation.

The development can be used as a visual prosthesis (scientists are preparing to implement it, which will restore the function of vision), as well as in the creation of robots.

The union of the brain and the computer. This is the idea of Elon Musk’s company was Neuralink (a neuro-technology company founded in 2016). The company's engineers developed implants (chips) that, after being implanted into the head, they can read brain signals and transmit them to a computer. It is noted that with the help of this technology it is possible to return vision, hearing, mobility of limbs after brain damage, as well as the ability to communicate (typing text by the power of thought).

Similar chips have already been successfully tested on animals and must be tested on people this year (last year the company applied to the US Food and Drug Administration to start testing). Elon Musk himself announced it on the Joe Rogan YouTube channel. It is believed that in the future this technology would create a symbiosis between the human brain and AI (artificial intelligence).

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Neuroimplants. Patients with Parkinson's disease and epilepsy can benefit from the first neural implant developed by Rice University researchers. The device can be charged and reprogrammed remotely – the technology will allow the chip built into the brain to receive energy from a source outside the body. This will happen using an alternating magnetic field (according to scientists themselves, the use of ultrasound, induction, electromagnetic and optical radiation cannot provide a similar level of reliability – obstacles in the form of hair, bones, skin). Moreover, the method of using electromagnetic fields is safer, because they are not absorbed by tissues and do not heat them.

A bioelectronic implant can help relieve pain and stimulate neurons of the people with these diseases.

Today the communication is one-way - the microcircuit can receive signals, and not send them. In the future, scientists are striving to improve development, so that the implants themselves collect information about the health status of the body and transmit it to extraneous devices.

Amazing technology

Chair-gyro scooter. At CES 2020, Segway introduced its new product, the S-POD gyro scooter chair, which is able to maintain balance and is controlled by a special joystick (located on the armrest).

An unusual model of a gyroscope is similar to the Girosfera "Jurassic World"

The developers claim that you can drive up to 70 km at a speed of 40 km / h on a single charge. It is noted that the chair can be useful in moving around the territory of universities, airports, exhibitions, or parks, it could be a good replacement for personal vehicles.

Related: Bolton says Russia uses technologies stolen from the U.S.

The presentation of the production version of S-POD should take place in the third quarter of 2020. The product will go on sale no earlier than 2021.

Jetpack. At the end of last year, Swiss developer Yves Rossi showed the world a perfect version of a flying knapsack – a wing-knapsack that has the ability to take off vertically (before a man had to fly into the sky with airplanes and helicopters, and land with a parachute). With the new wing pack, you just have to stand upright and have a pair of gloves with built-in sensors, because the vertical thrust of the Jetcat P550 engine (two on each wing) is enough to take off, lifting a person and its own weight, at a speed of 180 km / h. The developer also provided the device with an autonomous balancing system.

Swiss developer Yves Rossi tests his invention
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Testing of the satchel should continue in 2020, which will show whether the Swiss finally managed to establish himself as a competitor to the well-known Jetpack (a similar device for vertical take-off and landing) and VTOL (vertical take-off and landing aircraft).

Computer identification. Every year, identification systems that can recognize objects, places, and people using images from surveillance cameras or other sensors are actively developing. In particular, such algorithms have long been used in smartphones, where there is the identification by face.

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The identification procedure seems familiar to us and in the conditions of the 21st century it is really necessary, but over time it might happen that computer-identification becomes the "Big Brother" who will observe our every action. For example, Yandex.Taxi is already testing a camera that checks the driver’s condition, and a face recognition sensor is already being used at Dubai Airport to check passengers more quickly. Such identification can help control product quality by tracking defects on production lines.

Since 2020, a system of social credit began to operate throughout China, according to which, in the beginning, all citizens of the country receive 1000 points. Depending on the actions and decisions, the rating of a citizen increases or decreases. Thus, citizens who have a high rating can count on benefits, those who have a low rating will receive fines and restrictions (in particular, if you cross the road to a red traffic light, the system will “display” your face on a large screen near the intersection). The authorities collect information from government agencies and video surveillance cameras.

Development of VR and AR technologies. Virtual and augmented reality technologies continue to delight with a single mention of their capabilities, the base of which is expanding almost every six months. So, at the end of 2019 - the beginning of 2020, Teslasuit introduced gloves for virtual reality (with their help, you can not only move VR objects but also get tactile sensations).

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Conferences are taking place in the virtual space today, some companies conduct training in self-isolation conditions on 3D simulators that can be run on any digital medium. For example, Stanford University trained its physicians using a virtual simulator (an office with a patient who needed to be examined). Today, this method of training is used in many clinics.

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The emergence and development of new technologies occur in direct proportion to time – every year more and more opportunities open up. So, until the end of 2020, humanity will see a number of exciting products from start-ups and innovative solutions to scientific discoveries, which will somehow affect the future development of technology and humanity.

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